Outsider’s View: Cincinnati Bengals – Week 8

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

We at TJB love advanced statistics and have long been fans of Football Outsiders.  Now that the season is underway, we’re going to take a look at the weekly opponents through the overall and unit rankings through the lens of Football Outsiders.  Let’s take a look at how this weekend’s opponent, the Bengals, are stacking up.  

(As a heads up, negative percentages are good on defense, but bad on offense & specials)

NFL: New England Patriots at Cincinnati BengalsPass Offense: 18.1% (11th)
Rush Offense: -4.1% (12th)
O-Line Ranking: Run 11th / Pass 13th

Analysis: This is such a hard offense to figure out, but I think it is fair to say that the best way I can characterize this offense is “The Anti-Patriots.”  Where the Patriots have one extremely talented quarterback and a bunch of schmoes, the reverse is true here.  The skill positions are talented and seem to drag along their quarterback.  Gio Bernard, The Law Firm, AJ Green, Marvin Jones, Gresham and Eiftert is a talented all-around group.  Dalton is not terrible, but he’s great either so all too often those solid skill players are at the mercy of their quarterback.  If the Jets can do all the base defensive things … stop the run and then pressure Dalton into making plays and trapping him, it could turn out well for the Jets.  Conversely, it might just take a few game-breaking plays by Dalton to Bernard or Green to make all the difference in this game.  For the Jets, it just comes down to simple execution and not hurting themselves with missed tackles and penalties.  Dalton will likely make plays, but he will likely also stall drives … it’s up to the Jets to ride him out and limit the Bengals poin-twise.

Pass Defense: -2.0% (10th)
Rush Defense: -15.6% (8th)
D-Line Ranking: Run 22nd / Pass 20th

Analysis:  Domata Peko, Geno Atkins,  Michael Johnson, Vontaze Burfict and James Harrison are going to make this a long day for the Jets up front.  Atkins gets all the credit, but Johnson might in fact be the impact player in this group … so watch out for him.  The Bengals might not have been as good at racking up sacks this year as they were in 2012, but they are still a very capable group and but they are a deadly bunch and can make their presence felt in the backfield.  Expect that the Jets will not be able to run the ball at all against this team and anything they can accomplish on the ground is a bonus.

That of course means that we believe this game will rest on Geno’s shoulders.  But there is some good news here.  For the second straight week, the Jets get the benefit of playing a team without their best player in the secondary.  Begnals CB Leon Hall is out for the year and it’s a huge blow for a group that was built around him will collectively have to step up … and it might not be easy for Marvin Lewis’s defense.  Overall, their secondary was solid, but across the board the Bengals were matching up first receivers, second receivers, slot receivers all around the middle of the pack.  This might prove to be a house of cards.  My meaning?  A corner who was only mediocre against other second option competition will be harder pressed against a top option … and so on down the line.  Since throwing the ball will be such a key element to the Jets offense this week, can Geno find the right man?

Special Teams: 3.0% (12th)

Analysis: The Jets are going to have the upper hand against this unit and if it comes to kicks, bet on Folk.  For the Bengals, their best field position work has come when they punt the ball … look to see if Cribbs can help mitigate that somewhat against a good punting and coverage unit.